City Beat and Arts & Entertainment Editor
The Streets of Saratoga: New Owen Wilson Film Announces April Screening
NEW YORK — IFC Films announced on Nov. 17 they are acquiring North American rights to a new comedy starring Owen Wilson that was partially filmed in and around Saratoga Springs in April 2021.
IFC Films will release the film in theaters on April 28, 2023 and will stream exclusively on AMC+ later that year, as first reported by deadline.com. It is not known whether scenes that were filmed in Saratoga County will eventually show up in the completed version of the movie, which is titled “Paint.”
Written and directed by Brit McAdams, actor Owen Wilson portrays Vermont public television painter Carl Nargle.
“In every step of making the film, we’ve fought to team up with talented collaborators who are also good people,” said director and writer Brit McAdams, in a statement released Nov. 17. “From our first conversation, IFC felt like the perfect home for Paint, not only because of how much they love the film and how respected they are in the industry, but also because of who they are as individuals. We’re all beyond excited to have them add their signature to this picture.”
Arianna Bocco, President of IFC Films, added: “We’re thrilled to finally work with the boundless and versatile talent of Owen Wilson, as he effortlessly brings Carl Nargle’s character to life from a savvy script and direction by Brit McAdams. PAINT has all the makings of a quotable comedic masterpiece, and we hope audiences of all ages are ready for a lot of laughs and a lot of heart.”
Mid-November Marks Anniversary Start of Fall 2020, 2021 COVID Spikes in Saratoga County
BALLSTON SPA — In September, Saratoga County began offering clinics for seniors regarding updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
The boosters - called a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine - include components of the original virus strain and the Omicron variant and are designed to provide better protection against the Omicron variant, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
Saratoga County Health Services Commissioner Dr. Daniel Kuhles recently provided the county’s Health and Human Services Committee with an update regarding the status of the vaccination clinics.
“On the bivalent COVID vaccine initiative, we’ve been focused on our seniors, who can either register online or call our call center,” Kuhles said. “We’ve had clinics almost every day since September.” Most recently, the county staged Moderna Bivalent Booster Clinics at the county Public Safety Building in Ballston Spa, and Pfizer Bivalent Booster Clinics at Galway Town Hall and at Mechanicville Senior Center.
Comparatively speaking about 7.3% of the US population and 8.5% of the population in New York State has received a bivalent booster, Kuhles said. “In Saratoga County, it’s 13.56 % and 35% of seniors. So, while the overall interest across the nation is low, we continue to outperform the nation and the state.”
Appointments are required, and information may be found via the county website at saratogacounty.ny.org. The county clinics restrict the bivalent vaccine to seniors. For all others, boosters offered at pharmacies and other locations may be found via the CDC (search at: vaccines.gov, or call 1-,./ 800-232-02330).
New Yorkers ages 5 and older are eligible for a Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent booster dose and New Yorkers ages 6 and older are eligible for a Moderna bivalent booster dose.
The middle of November has, over the past two years, traditionally been the start of a major regional spike in COVID infection, according to state reports.
Nov. 12, 2020 marked the first fall time surge as the Saratoga County 7-day average infection rate topped 20 cases per 100,000 - peaking at 82 in January - and staying above 20 until April 26, 2021.
A similar fall surge took place last year, climbing above 20 per 100,000 on Nov. 5, 2021, peaking at 380 in January, and staying above 20 through Feb. 15, 2022. Since April, the weekly average has fluctuated little, maintaining an approximate 20 cases per 100,000 rate of infection. Those numbers, sourced via the NYSDOH database, do not include self-administered home tests.
Overall, there have been 2,262 hospitalizations and 376 deaths of county residents since 2020, according to Saratoga County’s Department of Health COVID Surveillance data.
Of those hospitalized: 304 were vaccinated and up-to-date with booster recommendations, 608 were vaccinated but not up-to-date with booster recommendations, and 1,350 were not vaccinated.
Regarding deaths: 39 were vaccinated and up-to-date with booster recommendations, 73 were vaccinated but not up-to-date with booster recommendations, and 264 were not vaccinated.
For more information on county government matters, go to: saratogacountyny.gov.
Toys for Tots: 9th Annual Drive Success
SARATOGA SPRINGS — More than 100 vehicles from area businesses, civic organizations and emergency services agencies journeyed from the Ballston Spa middle school/high school campus to Saratoga Performing Arts Center Nov. 13 in a convoy to help generate new, unwrapped toys for immediate distribution by Capital Region Toys for Tots this holiday season.
Coordinated by the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office and iHeart Media – Albany, largely supported by Saratoga First Responders, Convoy for Tots is held annually to support the mission of Capital Region Toys for Tots. An estimated 9,000 to 10,000 toys were secured during the 9th annual event on Nov. 13.
The organization serves more than 160,000 children annually in the Capital Region, and the Nov. 13 event marked the ninth annual convoy. The eight previous events have resulted in over 100,000 toys donated for distribution in the Capital Region.
Victorian Streetwalk Returns New, Reimagined Weekend Stages in Saratoga Springs Dec. 1-4
SARATOGA SPRINGS — A reimagined Victorian Streetwalk will take place over a four-day span in Saratoga Springs from Dec. 1-4.
Broadway will close to traffic on from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 for a Tree Lighting Ceremony. Additional festivities, caroling and other music is scheduled to take place 5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday Dec. 3, and Noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in their Broadway cottage, and Saratoga Downtown Business Association has announced live musical performances will include Madison Vandenburg - the singer from the Capital Region who garnered national attention during her 2019 appearance on the American Idol TV show.
Victorian Streetwalk Weekend Festivities will run through Sunday, Dec. 4.
Land Use Proposals: 102-Unit Multi-Family Residential, 200-Unit Affordable Housing Project
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Upcoming meetings of the city’s three Land Use Boards will take place at Saratoga Springs City Hall, respectively, on Nov. 16 (DRC), Nov. 17 (Planning Board), and Nov. 28 (ZBA).
A variety of both new and ongoing projects are anticipated to be discussed at those meetings.
Design Review Board – 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 16.
• PDT Market Storefront Modifications and Signage, 55 Railroad Place, Architectural Review of storefront modifications. Narrative: Renovation of 19,200 square foot space at Railroad Avenue to open the PDT Market in a space previously occupied by Price Chopper. Seeking to modify entry by removing 24 feet of storefront and replacing with stucco preparation.
• Saratoga Coworks Signage, 92 Congress St., Architectural Review of a new wall sign.
• 53 Spring Cladding Color Change, 53 Spring, Historic Review of proposed modification of Nichiha cladding finish color from Vintagewood Cedar to Vintagwood Bark.
• Brookview Prefab shed, 3 Brookview, Architectural Review of a proposed prefabricated wood shed.
• Best Western Rt 9 Modifications, 3291 US Route 9, Architectural Review of facade material and color changes.
• 10 Marion, 10 Marion Ave., Architectural Review of proposed renovations to existing home.
Planning Board - 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17
• 131 Excelsior North Spring Run Special Use Permit, 131 Excelsior, Consideration of coordinated SEQRA review for a proposed 102-unit multi-family residential project.
• Crescent and Jefferson Petition for Zoning Amendment, Crescent & Jefferson, Consideration of deferral of lead agency status and an advisory opinion to the City Council for comprehensive plan, and zoning map amendments to provide for a proposed 200-unit affordable housing project.
• Kirby Subdivision, 52 Kirby, Final plan review of a two-lot subdivision.
• 120 S. Broadway Site Plan Review, 120 S. Broadway, Site plan review of a proposed multi-family residential project consisting of 58 units, and associated site work.
Zoning Board of Appeals – 6:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 28
• Cardona’s Area Variance, 222 Washington, Area variance to permit the renovation and rear addition to Cardona’s Market.
• 10 A Nelson Ave New Build, 10A Nelson Ave., Area variance extension to permit the construction of a single-family home.
• 142 East Ave Garage Demo and Reconstruction, 142 East Ave., Area variance to permit the reconstruction of existing garage.
• 72 Catherine Porch Area Variance, 72 Catherine, Area variance to construct a side porch.
• 115 Ballston Area Variance, 115 Ballston Ave., Area Variance to permit the installation of an illuminated directional sign on an existing light post on commercial property.
• 14 MacArthur rear deck, 14 MacArthur, Area variance to permit the construction of rear deck.
• 3257 Rt 9 New Sign, 3257 Route 9, Area variance to permit the installation of an externally illuminated directory sign 8-feet high and 28.3 square feet.
• 1 Alger Area Variance, 1 Alger St., Area variance to construct screened porch.
-139 State St. Garage Reno Area Variance, 139 State St., Area variance to permit the renovation of an existing home.
• 28 North Lane - 96 Union Demo and Construction, 28 North/ 96 Union, Area variance to permit the construction of a new three-car garage and dwelling unit.
Crescent & Jefferson Zoning Amendment Powerpoint Presentation, submitted in conjunction with
200-unit plan for affordable housing project.
Election 2022: Saratoga County vs. NY State - Comparison and Analysis
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Despite a changing electorate, an increase in population, and a redrawing of district boundaries, Saratoga voters this week elected to largely maintain the present state of affairs when choosing their political leaders.
Congressman Paul Tonko, Assemblypersons Mary Beth Walsh and Carrie Woerner, and county district attorney Karen Heggen were each reelected to new terms, and when it came to selecting a state senator for the new all-encompassing county district, it was the familiar name of James Tedisco which Saratoga voters chose.
There were, however, major diversions in some key races among Saratoga County voters when compared to the selections of the majority in the rest of the state.
There are approximately 173,500 registered voters in Saratoga County, according to the NYS Board of Elections most recent report of Nov. 1. Approximately 36% are registered Republicans, 29.6% registered Democrats, 27.2% are independent of any party, and the remaining 7.2% are comprised of registered third-party voters.
In these midterm elections, nearly 100,000 Saratoga voters cast their ballots countywide, representing over 56% of Saratoga County’s 173,500 active registered voters.
NY Senate District 44
More than 120,000 votes were counted, nearly 100,000 of them from Saratoga County in the newly redrawn 44th Senate District, which includes all of Saratoga County and part of Schenectady.
Republican James Tedisco emerged victorious securing 56% of the vote, compared to the 42% garnered by Democrat Michelle Ostrelich.
Ostrelich joined other party members Tuesday evening at The Inn at Saratoga on Broadway, where Democrats had gathered. Post-election, Ostrelich said she will continue to serve in her current capacity as a Schenectady County Legislator.
Tedisco meanwhile joined fellow county Republicans on Election Night at Vapor. The club is flanked by a this-century-constructed gambling facility with video lottery terminals and more than 1,000 slots, and a near century old harness racing track where sulky drivers are pulled across the half-mile dirt oval by horses eleven months of the year.
Tedisco was first elected to represent the 49th State Senate District – which includes parts of Saratoga, in 2016, and previously served in the New York State Assembly from 1983-2016. Tedisco, who represented the 49th district, decided to run in District 44 after the state’s redistricting process took shape earlier this year. The move drew criticism from Sen. Daphne Jordan of the 43rd district, who contended she had the rightful geographic claim to the new district, according to WAMC. Jordan subsequently announced she would not actively run.
House of Representatives
Once every decade, geographic boundaries regarding candidate representation are redrawn. Earlier this year, congressional redistricting placed all of Saratoga County into District 20, alongside Albany and Schenectady counties, and parts of Rensselaer.
In CD 20, Democrat incumbent Paul Tonko beat Republican challenger Elizabeth Joy 54% to 45%, with a victorious district-wide margin of approximately 27,000 votes. It is a contest the two candidates had staged previously; in 2020, Tonko defeated Joy by a near 20-point margin of victory.
Tonko was victorious among voters in Albany, Schenectady and Rensselaer. Saratoga voters favored Joy 53% to 47%, a difference of just over 6,000 votes. Republican incumbent Congresswoman Elise Stefanik had represented a portion of Saratoga in previous elections. The newly redrawn Congressional District 21 covers areas east, west and north of CD 20 where Stefanik defeated Democrat challenger Matt Castelli by a near 20-point margin of victory.
Republican Walsh, Democrat Woerner Re-Elected to NY Assembly
Areas of Saratoga County are represented as NY Assembly District 112 and NY Assembly District 113. Just over 45,000 voters presented their ballots in each of the contested districts in 2022.
In Assembly District 112, Mary Beth Walsh (R, C) emerged victorious over Andrew McAdoo (D, WF) 59% to 39%. In NY Assembly District 113, Carrie Woerner (D, WF) bested David Catalfamo (R, C) 52% to 47%.
For the first time in several decades, Democrats challenged the district attorney seat long held by Republicans. County voters re-elected Republican incumbent Karen Heggen over Democratic challenger Michael Phillips 57% to 43%, with a margin of victory of about 14,000 votes.
Saratoga County Votes in Statewide Races
Statewide, voters selected Democrats Kathy Hochul for Governor, Thomas DiNapoli for Comptroller, Letitia James for Attorney General, and Chuck Schumer as U.S. Senator. Three of those four state majority preferences came up short locally, however.
In the governor’s race, Saratoga County voters favored Republican challenger Lee Zeldin over Kathy Hochul 55% to 45%, attorney general Republican candidate Michael Henry over Letitia James 53% to 46%, and Republican U.S. Sen. Candidate Joe Pinion over Chuck Schumer 51% to 48%. (Note, all numbers are rounded up).
Ballot Proposal 1 – Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022, was overwhelmingly approved statewide and by Saratoga voters alike. The “yes” vote authorizes the sale of state bonds up to $4.2 billion to fund environmental protection, natural restoration, resiliency, and clean energy projects, in addressing and combating the impact of climate change and damage to the environment.
Golub Over Scirocco in Saratoga Springs DPW Election
SARATOGA SPRINGS — In the Spa City race to elect the Commissioner of Public Works, Democrat Jason Golub defeated Republican candidate Anthony Scirocco, Jr. garnering 6,818 votes to Scirocco’s 5,322.
More than 12,000 votes were registered for the city council seat, marking a greater than 30% increase in overall votes compared to the numbers tallied for any one of the five council seats during the last election in 2021.
Golub is currently filling the seat on an interim basis through 2022. He was unanimously selected by the four sitting members of the City Council in May to temporarily fill the position that became vacant as a result of the death of longtime DPW Commissioner Anthony “Skip” Scirocco. One of his sons, Anthony Scirocco, Jr. received the support of the local Republican Committee and ran for the position to follow in his late father’s footsteps.
The election will fill the DPW seat for the calendar year 2023 – the remainder of the elder Scirocco’s 2020-elected term.
There are places in the country where political preference and blind acceptance to a party’s ideals tears at the jigsaw of a community’s fabric. But, despite an us-versus-them mentality that is elsewhere pervasive, as well as an effort by some activated operatives pecking away like hens atop their social media connected keyboards seeking to create divisions - this is not one of those places. Here, there seems to be a simpler set of rules at play in comparing the candidates: Who are they? What sort of experience do they have? Who is the best person to get the job done?
To Golub, the goals related to his seat on the council in 2023 remain the same as when he first auditioned for the council appointment, earlier this year.
“For me, it’s the same as when we started. What is that 21st century vision of DPW? While we’re always going to do that core DPW - remove your snow, remove your leaves - it’s really about how can we drive the infrastructure in the city? Energy. Parks. Bike lanes. It could be how we partner with the state and federal government. There’s so much that DPW can drive and that’s where I want to focus,” said Golub, attending an Election Night gathering of Democrats at The Inn at Saratoga - a historic Broadway venue that first began operating as a boarding house in 1847.
Appointed to the position in May, Golub has now secured his first bonafide election victory. Bitten for the first time by the parliamentary bug, could a life-road in politics be awaiting him in the future?
“Who asks that question the night that you win? “ he says with a laugh. “I don’t know the answer to that. Tonight, I’m enjoying this. I enjoy serving the community and I would like to continue to do that. “
The Man Comes Around: Robert Burke Warren, Rochmon Talk Johnny Cash at Northshire Nov. 16
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Robert Burke Warren will discuss his new book “Cash on Cash: Interviews and Encounters with Johnny Cash,” with Chuck “Rochmon Record Club” Vosganian at Northshire Bookstore this week.
The event takes place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
Music has played a major role in Warren’s personal life and his career has included stints with RuPaul - “the singer of my first band, when I was 17. He was 20,” Warren recalls, The Fleshtones, and auditions for the B-52s and The Ramones. In 2016, he published his debut novel “Perfectly Broken” – a splendidly entertaining volume of words he synopsisized to this journalist as “Musicians in love, musicians behaving badly—and the people that love them.” In January, he co-hosts the David Bowie Birthday Bash in Manhattan.
“Cash on Cash,” published by Chicago Review Press in September, offers unprecedented insight into one of the most significant American cultural figures of the 20th century.
As an interviewee, Cash was an exemplary communicator to an astonishingly broad spectrum of people: always open and articulate, part friend, part spiritual authority, part flawed hero. Throughout a decades-long career, as Cash took risks, embracing new technologies, formats, and attitudes, he cleaved to a simple, core message of unvarnished truth.
Cash’s story, told in his own words, shines unfiltered light on a journey of archetypal proportions that resonates still in this comprehensive collection of interviews and feature stories, some widely published and others never previously transcribed, culled from the 1950s through the early days of the new millennium.
“Cash on Cash” is available at Northshire Saratoga. The bookstore is located at 424 Broadway in Saratoga Springs. Call 518-682-4200, visit: northshire.com.
Neil Young Celebrates 50th Anniversary of “Harvest” Album with Film, Box Set
While recording his album “Harvest” during a nine-month period in 1971, Neil Young was accompanied by a camera capturing moving images and some of the sounds.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the album’s release, captured footage from Northern California, London, and Nashville are being turned into an exclusive cinema event on Dec. 1.
“We’re just making a film about, I don’t know, just the things we want to film,” a 20-something Neil Young explains in a preview trailer, while walking along a path at Broken Arrow Ranch in California in 1971.
“Neil Young: Harvest Time” will be presented in movie theaters worldwide on Thursday, Dec. 1 with select encores on Sunday, Dec. 4.
The film depicts the “Harvest Barn” sessions, as well as an iconic performance with the London Symphony Orchestra, and sessions in Nashville. Performance and rehearsal content is intertwined into the storytelling and includes most of the tracks from the 1972 album ‘Harvest,’ including “Heart of Gold,” “A Man Needs A Maid,” “Alabama,” and “Old Man.”
“This is a big album for me. 50 years ago. I was 24, maybe 23 and this album made a big difference in my life,” Young said in a statement. “I played with some great friends and it’s really cool that that this album has lasted so long. I had a great time and now when I listen to it, I think I was really just lucky to be there. I hope you enjoy this story, which is ‘Harvest Time,’ and which talks about everything that happened. And now people all around the world can see it at the movies.”
A 50th Anniversary Edition Harvest Box Set will also be issued on Vinyl and CD which includes the original album, three studio outtakes on CD/7” vinyl, an unreleased live 1971 BBC solo performance on CD/LP and DVD, and a hardbound book and fold-out poster.
Visit NeilYoungHarvestTime.com for ticketing and the most up-to-date information about participating theaters.
Budget Month in Saratoga Springs: City Making Revisions to Proposed $54.21 Million Spending Plan
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The second Public Hearing regarding Saratoga Springs’ proposed 2023 budget was held Nov. 1 at City Hall. As was the case during the first public hearing, which was staged in mid-October, no one from the community stepped forward to be heard.
The city is proposing a $54.21 million spending plan in 2023, up slightly from $54.19 million plan in effect this year.
“We see our budget not just as a policy document for our city but also a road map and a moral compass for what our community prioritizes,” said city Finance Commissioner Minita Sanghvi. “Our primary goal when making this budget was to ensure there were no cuts to our excellent and much needed city services, as well as no layoffs of our city employees.”
During the City Council meeting Nov. 1, Commissioner Sanghvi provided a year-to-date collection report. “Our 2022 collection for Sales Tax stands at $11.6 million right now, our Mortgage Tax at $2.1 million, and our Occupancy Tax at $572,000 – these are very good numbers for 2022,” she said.
A “critical priority” in this year’s plan is budgeting for the city’s 3rd EMS/ Fire Station. The long-debated third station will serve residents of the city’s eastern plateau. Just over $7 million was bonded in 2022 for building the fire station and additional $1.4 million is slated to be bonded in 2023 for cost overages due to inflation and supply chain shortages.
Sanghvi said considering 8% inflation and the “once-in-a-generation undertaking of a EMS/ fire station,” the plan proposes a Real Property Tax increase from $6.43 to $6.67 for Inside District and from $6.37 to $6.61 for the Outside District - an average increase of 3.72%. That increase translates to the following: if a house is assessed at $200,000, owners will pay $4 per month more on their property tax, $6 per month more if assessed at $300,000, $8 per month more if assessed at $400,000.
Independent department budget workshops have been held through October. A budget must be finalized by Nov. 30.
“During the month of November, we will make final revisions and bring it to the City Council,” Sanghvi said.